Transcript - Making Merck Pay - CBS News - June 19, 2005

Vioxx Litigation
"Making Merck Pay"
CBS News
June 19, 2005

Reporter: Merck is 0 and 1 in the courtroom as it continues to face more than 4,000 lawsuits related to its arthritis drug Vioxx. One of those attorneys gearing up to do battle with Merck is Kenneth B. Moll. He's with Kenneth B. Moll and Associates and joins us now, Kenneth, good morning to you.

Ken Moll: Good morning to you.

Reporter: Ken, where does your case stand right now with Merck, by the way.

Ken Moll: Well, our offices have been contacted by over 5,000 clients from over 57 countries around the world. If you add those to the mix of the 4,000 that was previously stated I think that number is well over 10,000.

Reporter: And yours is one that has been wrapped up in the class action case against Merck in federal court, correct?

Ken Moll: That's correct

Reporter: That case is in the collection of evidence process?

Ken Moll: Well, all cases around the nation were consolidated before one judge, Judge Fallon in New Orleans, Louisiana. Right now general common discovery is being conducted against the company and the first trial is set to go forward in November of this year.

Reporter: All right, with that in mind, certainly the Texas verdict is something that you and your clients were watching very closely. Any thoughts on the verdict?

Ken Moll: It shows clearly, the reprehensible conduct by Merck, the fact that they did not disclose these facts before it marketed its drug. It shows that they put profits over safety. I think it is the first step in the resolution of all cases worldwide.

Reporter: Now, if you listen to the jury in the Texas case they certainly relied on some of the internal communications that you are referring to with Merck perhaps looking to profits but there are also different rules of evidence and testimony in the Federal Court versus the State Court and you are going to be in Federal Court. Does the Texas outcome change your strategy at all?

Ken Moll: Absolutely not. The memos state the same thing that Merck, when they knew it, was before they marketed the drug. What they knew was that their drug is dangerous. So they put that aside to try to compete against Pfizer and its Celebrex drug and that was also in the memo.

Reporter: As you know the danger with taking Vioxx didn't become apparent until after taking it to 18 months although some clients that are suing only took it for a matter of weeks.

Ken Moll: Yes, Merck is claiming that a study that was conducted for 18 months showed the increased incidence for up to 3 times as much risk for heart attack with those taking Vioxx as those that were not. What they knew beforehand is the risk of heart attack as little as weeks or months

Reporter: Have you seen an increase in Vioxx patients contacting your office since the Texas verdict?

Ken Moll: There have been a lot of calls to our offices, mostly clients that in the beginning were hesitant to go forward with the lawsuit are now calling saying yes I do want to go forward.

Reporter: A $250 Million verdict will certainly catch your eye, won't it?

Ken Moll: Yes, that's right.

Reporter: So, the first federal case is in November of this year?

Ken Moll: That's in the federal court, the MDL. There is another trial set to go to the New Jersey State Court next month.

Reporter: And that's the next time Merck will be in court. Thank you, Kenneth.

Ken Moll: Anytime

Reporter: Kenneth Moll of Kenneth B. Moll and Associates.